UGANDA: Women Have the Power to Decide the Destiny of Uganda

Friday, January 7, 2011
New Vision
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

FIVE years go by so fast. In 2006, our leaders made many promises as they convinced us to give them our vote; some were fulfilled while others were not. It is now payback time and power is back in the hands of the ordinary woman and man.

For the last five years, power has been in the hands of our leaders, now it is time for us to reclaim it.

At the launch of his manifesto, President Yoweri Museveni acknowledged that the votes are in the villages and he urged his campaign team to canvass for votes at the village level. Therefore, is the villager aware that the power lies in his/her hands?

Does he or she know that he or she has the power to determine who will increase allocations to maternal health, help him/her access justice, enable him/her have access to clean water and credit?

The time has come to separate the chaff from the wheat. However, let us make sure that only quality people who will serve us well go through the sieve.

Women constitute more than 50% of Uganda's population and are, therefore, an important group for the hopeful aspirants. More so, the majority of the women are the ‘villagers' who will cast their vote.

Historically, patriarchy has dominated and actually continues to exist in our societies. Women have continued to be marginalised, battered and deprived of key leadership positions. The time has come to reflect on what women's priorities are.

Women in Uganda have experienced a lot of violence. One example is Jennifer Alupot of Pallisa whose husband forced her to breastfeed puppies. Women also suffer great losses because they lack access to the services they need.

An example is Sylvia Nalubowa and her beautiful baby who died in hospital because they could not be attended to in time. The list could go on and on.

However, the question is: “How have we pronounced ourselves as women?”

I would like to encourage women to take time off to think about the gains of the last five years. What have we gained from the current leadership and what do we want for ourselves in the next five years?

Women hold the power to decide the destiny of Uganda. Therefore, we should not sell our vote and continue dancing and serving eats and drinks on Women's Day. As women, let us all arise and fill the positions of leadership or at least have a say in the choice of our leaders. Let us say no to manipulation.

As women we need to ask relevant questions; what is our representation in the various political party leaderships i.e. NRM, UPC, DP, FDC? How much is being allocated towards safe motherhood programmes? How much is being allocated towards the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act? The important question we should ask is: “Where is the money for addressing the imbalances between women and men?”

Performance should be measured and accountability given by those in leadership. Our leaders should tell us what they have done in the last five years before new promises are made.

We should not be intimidated anymore since the beauty of casting the ballot is that it is done in secret, and no one will ever know who you actually voted for.

Therefore, let us vote for candidates who clearly show how women will benefit from the resource envelope. The power lies with us the majority…WOMEN!